Coverage of Second Life over the past couple of years has fallen into two categories:
1. “Hey, Second Life! People are making millions there! Every corporate MUST be in there or it’s a dinosaur!”
2. “Hey, Second Life! It’s all about kiddie porn/rape fantasies/scams/crazy shit! All the corporates are leaving so fast you can’t see their pixels for dust!”
Cory Edo, of Electric Sheep Company, is more than a little pissed off with this kind of bipolar attention, and sums up what’s great about SL in a great post:
“The people that discover, enjoy, and stay in Second Life tend to be of the variety that see this paring of freedom and creativity so often neglected by any other form of entertainment and feel a rush, the joy of a challenge (but a challenge from yourself to yourself), the blank canvas of a painter or the silent instrument of a musician. This is why SL has such a massive entrepreneural base. This is not free money – this is money earned through creativity, effort, honing of skills (often new), and more effort.”
Yes, Second Life contains a lot of dubious stuff. And, from a brand perspective, if you enter Second Life then you’re going to be sharing your world with some (ahem) “entertaining” characters. But you also have a chance to engage with people on a level which you won’t find anywhere else, and dig deep into some incredibly creative tools.
And, as I’ve said on several occasions before, it’s an ongoing process, and there’s no point in the build-and-forget policy that several corporates have tried. You’re either in it for the long haul, or you’re not in it at all. As Cory puts it:
If every press and media and RL company all unanimously declared Second Life to be an utter waste of time and attention, I’d still be here, along with everyone else that has discovered its potential for themselves. We probably wouldn’t tell you to let the door hit you on the way out, but we’ll be happy to show you what we’re up to when you finally come around.